6 Kinds of Atheists, 4 Kinds of Christians, and How Nietzsche's Zarathustra Deconverted Me

What are the differences between atheists who are ashamed, those who are apatheistic, those who are accommodationist, those who are lions, those who are children, and those who are hyenas?

How did reading Nietzsche’s writings, and especially the book Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and Nobody, overwhelm me and undermine my faith so strongly in just ten days of reading that I was mentally, emotionally, and “spiritually” set up to deconvert as soon as I read Nietzsche again, just a short 6 months later?

How do I mentally sort the various kinds of Christians I discuss ideas with, both online and off?

Those are the main topics of discussion in part 1 of a 4 part interview I gave to Bret Alan of the blog Anything But Theist. Check it out!

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jehne.lunden Jehne Lunden

    I’m a hyena. One day I may become the child But I’m not there yet. I still see the child as being an accommodationist.

  • http://anythingbuttheist.blogspot.com Bret

    The interviewer tries too hard to seem funny.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jehne.lunden Jehne Lunden

      He also talks about himself in the third person.

    • http://anythingbuttheist.blogspot.com Bret

      Yeah, that pretentious prick.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jehne.lunden Jehne Lunden

      Ya that too! :D

  • http://songe.me Alex Songe

    I’ve been suspicious lately of the whole accomodationist vs firebrand spectrum as a narrative. I’ve found that different people occupied broader and narrower segments of the spectrum, as well as just a spot on the spectrum. When you consider the reasons people have for being on their preferred part of the spectrum, the reasons are way more important than the spectrum ever was. Some of these reasons are good, valid reasons and others simply aren’t. Accomodationists who just want to get along so they can live their lives in peace vs accomodationists who seek to work with allies to affect change. Firebrands who really are “angry at God” (while this is a trope, these atheists do exist, I’ve met them) vs firebrands who want to motivate more atheists to be out and proud. The effect of the “appeaser” accomodationists and the trope-ish “angry atheists” is largely detrimental towards the aims of most atheists in finding truth or improving the lives of people.

    • http://anythingbuttheist.blogspot.com Bret

      I may be wrong, but I would imagine there’s less atheists who are “angry at god” as there are atheists angry at religion and religious people.

      I think they hate the players, not the game.

      But I suppose there must be some. They may identify as atheists, but I think they are technically maltheists practicing misotheism.

  • plutosdad

    Is Thus Spoke Zarathustra a good one to start with? I’ve read maybe half of the Antichrist, but it’s getting harder and harder to get through. It’s almost painful, since for one, the anger is a little too much, and secondly, sometimes I feel like he is making stuff up (regarding history, such as “the church did X in order to achieve Y” and I think “how does he know that?” )

    so, I am thinking of skipping over it. Of course, I’m just reading some free scan of a 75+ year old translation available over Kindle. Some of these old, unannotated books are a little dry and hard to read to begin with.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      Thus Spoke Zarathustra is not as philosophically straightforward as other of his works, it is more oracular and in many places reads like a parody of the New Testament, and it becomes a slog in the third part. But the first two parts are wonderful literature and all Nietzsche’s main themes emerge. It’s the vibrant version of Nietzsche’s philosophy. And it’s the “yes” saying version of it. The works after Zarathustra are much more negative, whereas Zarathustra represents the affirmative take on the same ideas. Don’t be cheap, read Graham Parkes’s translation. It’s superb and even though it’s not free (as others are), it is still cheap.


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